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Mon, 21 Sep 2020
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Strange animal behavior: 'I've never seen or heard of attacks' - Scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats

In the deep: a pod of highly intelligent killer whales, or orcas.

In the deep: a pod of highly intelligent killer whales, or orcas.
Reports of orcas striking sailing boats in the Straits of Gibraltar have left sailors and scientists confused. Just what is causing such unusually aggressive behaviour?

When nine killer whales surrounded the 46ft boat that Victoria Morris was crewing in Spain on the afternoon of 29 July, she was elated. The biology graduate taught sailing in New Zealand and is used to friendly orca encounters. But the atmosphere quickly changed when they started ramming the hull, spinning the boat 180 degrees, disabling the autohelm and engine. The 23-year-old watched broken bits of the rudder float off, leaving the four-person crew without steering, drifting into the Gibraltar Straits shipping lane between Cape Trafalgar and the small town of Barbate.

The pod rammed the boat for more than an hour, during which time the crew were too busy getting the sails in, readying the life raft and radioing a mayday - "Orca attack!" - to feel fear. The moment fear kicked in, Morris says, was when she went below deck to prepare a grab bag - the stuff you take when abandoning ship. "The noise was really scary. They were ramming the keel, there was this horrible echo, I thought they could capsize the boat. And this deafening noise as they communicated, whistling to each other. It was so loud that we had to shout." It felt, she says, "totally orchestrated".

The crew waited a tense hour and a half for rescue - perhaps understandably, the coastguard took time to comprehend ("You are saying you are under attack from orca?"). To say this is unusual is to massively understate it. By the time help arrived, the orcas were gone. The boat was towed to Barbate, where it was lifted to reveal the rudder missing its bottom third and outer layer, and teeth marks along the underside.


Windsock

Turkish capital Ankara hit by freak sandstorm

A rare sandstorm engulfed Polatlı and Haymana districts in the capital Ankara on Sept. 12 which left six people wounded.

A rare sandstorm engulfed Polatlı and Haymana districts in the capital Ankara on Sept. 12 which left six people wounded.
A sandstorm hit the Turkish capital Ankara on Saturday, affecting daily life in the city.

According to initial reports, six people were mildly injured after being hit by "flying objects," Vasip Sahin, the governor of the capital, said on Twitter.

"There is no immediate report of loss of life or property for now," he said.

The sandstorm first hit Polatli district of the capital and then engulfed the entire city.

Mursel Yildizkaya, mayor of Polatli, said the entire district was covered with a cloud of dust and small-scale fires broke out due to lightning strikes, but the fires were put out.


Cloud Precipitation

Flash floods destroy homes in Liuzhou, China

floods
China's Guangxi & Liuzhou floods, 11 September, 2020.


Comment: More footage:




Cloud Precipitation

Flooding after heavy downpour in Mangaluru, India

Houses inundated by floodwater in Jeppu Kutpadi

Houses inundated by floodwater in Jeppu Kutpadi in Mangaluru.
The India Metrological Department (IMD) issued red warning for heavy rainfall in parts of Karnataka on September 11.

Downpour led to flood-like situation in Mangaluru.

Fire department and emergency services carried out rescue operation in the area.


Snowflake

Storms, deep snow hinder 3 Greenland expeditions

All three Greenland teams faced storms this week.
© Matthieu Tordeur
All three Greenland teams faced storms this week.
Despite unfavorable conditions, the three Greenland expeditions are progressing across the Inland Ice.

Norwegian sisters Aase and Hanne Seeberg are performing strongly on their east-to-west traverse. After 22 days, they are due to arrive at DYE II, an old radar station about three-quarters of the way along their 600km route.

"They have found deep snow but have skied a regular 20km every day," reports expedition liaison Lars Ebbeson. "They cleared the Summit [the apex of the Ice Sheet] before the last storm on the east side, so have been able to progress over the last few days."

Tornado1

This seems very 2020: Watch as smoke from US forest fires gets sucked into Pacific storm

A swath of wildfire smoke is getting pulled into an offshore storm
© GOES-17/NOAA
A swath of wildfire smoke is getting pulled into an offshore storm
We've got another one for your 2020 list...

I'm going to file this under "I've never seen this in my career, but I probably should have expected it this year" as some of this thick smoke from the historic fires burning in Oregon and California is now getting sucked right into a Pacific storm.

Watch:


Arrow Down

Around 50 feared dead in DR Congo gold mine collapse after heavy rains flood nearby river

DIGGERS
About 50 people are feared dead after a gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo following torrential rain, local authorities said Saturday.

The accident in the makeshift mine occurred on Friday in the town of Kamituga, in South Kivu province.

Provincial governor Theo Ngwabidje Kasi deplored "the tragic deaths of 50 people, most of them young".

However, Kamituga mayor Alexandre Bundya said "we are not yet sure of the exact number" of victims. A local resident who was at the scene, Jean Nondo, told AFP that "according to witnesses, there are more than 50 dead. There is only one survivor."

He said a river close to the mine had flooded after torrential rain.


Tornado2

Huge waterspout filmed over Dalian Bay, China

Footage released by China's Dalian Meteorology Bureau shows a waterspout looming over East Harbour Business District at 2pm on Friday. Another waterspout was spotted in the morning

Footage released by China's Dalian Meteorology Bureau shows a waterspout looming over East Harbour Business District at 2pm on Friday. Another waterspout was spotted in the morning
Two waterspouts descended on a coastal city in eastern China today, leaving the locals stunned.

Footage released by the meteorological authority of Dalian shows one of them looming over a business district in the afternoon.

The spectacle occurred at around 2pm near the East Harbour Business District, according to Dalian Meteorology Bureau.


Seismograph

Shallow M6.1 earthquake jolts Japan's Miyagi Prefecture

The epicenter of the earthquake that occurred on Sept. 12 at 11:44 a.m. is located in Miyagi Prefecture
© JAPAN METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY
The epicenter of the earthquake that occurred on Sept. 12 at 11:44 a.m. is located in Miyagi Prefecture
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake, which measured 4 on the shindo (intensity) scale, was detected at a depth of 40 kilometers off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday at 11:44 a.m.

There is currently no tsunami warning in effect.

As a precaution, those near coastal areas are advised to move to higher ground.

Boat

Think 2020's disasters are wild? Worse is yet to come say experts

Creek Fire
© AP
A firefighter battles the Creek Fire as it threatens homes in the Cascadel Woods neighborhood of Madera County, California.
A record amount of California is burning, spurred by a nearly 20-year mega-drought. To the north, parts of Oregon that don't usually catch fire are in flames.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic's 16th and 17th named tropical storms are swirling, a record number for this time of year. Powerful Typhoon Haishen lashed Japan and the Korean Peninsula this week. Last month it hit 130 degrees in Death Valley, the hottest Earth has been in nearly a century.

Phoenix keeps setting triple-digit heat records, while Colorado went through a weather whiplash of 90-degree heat to snow this week. Siberia, famous for its icy climate, hit 100 degrees earlier this year, accompanied by wildfires. Before that Australia and the Amazon were in flames.

Comment: While former NASA chief scientist Abdalati is wrong about a number of things, it is obvious to anyone paying attention that there are great changes afoot on our planet. And so for a more compelling answer as to what's driving these changes and that also explains the increase in extreme and unusual events, across the board, from sinkholes; extreme temperature swings; global cooling; the meandering jet stream and stalling gulf stream; the unusual electrical activity in our skies; the rise in fireballs and comets; the increase in volcanic and seismic events - and much more - check out Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection, as well as the following SOTT podcasts: